"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Mind of Christ and a Psychoanalytic Mind (VI)

I recently received the following book from the editor of Reviews in Religion and Theology, for which I am a regular reviewer. I shall not be able to reproduce my review here, but once I have read it, I will nonetheless share some other thoughts on a book that fits in with our on-going series here on the relationship between Christianity and psychoanalytic thought: Nathan Carlan and Donald Capps, The Gift of Sublimation: A Psychoanalytic Study of Multiple Masculinities (Cascade, 2015), 212pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
There is not, and never was, a monolithic masculinity; there are, and always have been, multiple masculinities. Today diversity with regard to gender and sexuality is beginning to be recognized and celebrated even while many religious denominations still resist these cultural changes. This book offers pastoral interpretations of these social shifts in light of psychological principles, applying them to topics such as the moral disapproval of masturbation; the efforts of some churches to convince homosexual men to adopt a heterosexual orientation; the dynamics of male envy of female longevity; the homosexual tendencies of King James of England and Scotland; and biblical portraits of God's body, gender, and sexuality. The authors make a special use of the psychoanalytic concept of sublimation-that is, the redirection of sexual desires that are considered unacceptable or unworthy toward interests and aspirations that are considered acceptable and worthy. While the use of psychoanalytic hermeneutics here is likely to raise various red flags for potential religious readers (especially for those who have been informed that Sigmund Freud was hostile toward religion), this book presents a rather different Freud by focusing on religious sublimation.

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